TBR News May 21, 2017

May 21 2017

The Voice of the White House

        Washington, D.C. May 21, 2017: “The so-called ‘Deep State’ forces often alluded to, do, in fact exist in the United States.

This consists of the professional military and intelligence groups who make huge amounts of money from tax-payers and from industries allied with the military and intelligence programs.

Added to this group are violent right-wing professional politicians who hate Russia, partially because of the activities of the long-dead Josef Stalin and partially because the ancestors of most of the neo-cons came from Imperial Russia where they had been persecuted by the authorities because of their religion.

These groups, loosely allied, do not want to lose economic and political control over the country and view Donald Trump as a threat to their hegemony.

It is well-known inside the intelligence community that the Russians have managed to locate and extract an enormous number of supposedly “secret” official and business emails and have no problem in releasing them for the education of the general public.

These tactics have badly frightened their opponents who do not want the public to be made aware of the cynical manipulations they are subject to and loud, hysterical cries for punishment of anyone daring to challenge their right to suck up enormous amounts of enforced tax revenues can be seen, and heard, daily in the controlled media.”

Table of Contents

  • Yet Another Attempt to Audit the Pentagon. Good Luck With That
  • Does Assange have a get-out-of-jail card over the ‘Russia-gate’ scandal?
  • The Special Counsel Comes to Town: It’s the Moscow Trials, Revisited
  • Killing C.I.A. Informants, China Crippled U.S. Spying Operations
  • Trump targets ‘crisis of Islamist extremism’ in Saudi trip
  • Israeli minister expresses concern over U.S.-Saudi arms deal
  • If the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Collapsed…
  • S. Department of Defense report on the Arctic

 Yet Another Attempt to Audit the Pentagon. Good Luck With That

May 18, 2017

by Eric Pianin

The Fiscal Times

or years, lawmakers and government watchdogs have complained about wasteful and improper government payments to Medicare and Medicaid health care providers and to scores of other programs that have cost taxpayers at least $1.2 trillion since fiscal 2003.

Just last year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) documented improper or dubious payments to more than 100 government program operated by 22 agencies totaling $144 billion. During a hearing before the Senate Budget Committee on Wednesday focused on “running the government for less,” Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) noted that the government could literally wipe out the annual deficit by recouping many of those improper government payments and closing the $406 billion annual gap in IRS tax collections.

Yet the hundreds of billions of improper payments by the government to contractors, physicians, beneficiaries and others could well be just the tip of the iceberg of federal funds being squandered because of inadequate oversight. That’s because the Department of Defense – the largest government agency with an annual budget of nearly $600 billion – has never been successfully audited.

Worse still, an investigation by Reuters in 2013 showed that “phony numbers” were inserted into Defense Department’s books to square the accounts with those of the U.S. Treasury—a sanctioned accounting practice that in any business would be considered fraud and lead to jail time.

“The Department of Defense is the only major department and agency in the federal government that cannot yet pass a test with an independent audit,” Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller of the United States, said in an interview yesterday following his testimony before the Budget Committee. “There are some small components of the Defense Department that do pass audits, like the Army Corp of Engineers. But none of the major services and certainly not a department-wide audit so far.”

But that could be changing.

The military’s accounting disarray became an issue during the 2016 presidential campaign, and both President Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton pledged to order a thorough audit of the Defense Department as part of major government reforms if they were elected.

That idea enjoyed widespread bipartisan support. David Norquist, Trump’s nominee to become comptroller of the Pentagon, indicated that the Pentagon would devote the next several months “gearing up for a mission so complicated that many officials doubt it can be pulled off,” as The Atlantic reported.

While the Pentagon over the years has been hit with investigations and controversy over massive contract cost overruns, including development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as well as bribery in the awarding of contracts and other misdeeds, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has never documented the extent of improper payments and still hasn’t the slightest clue.

Experts say there is no way of knowing how the Pentagon had spent more than $8.5 trillion since 1996 when a new law took effect mandating the DoD’s financial reviews. Precisely how much the Defense Department spends and where the money goes has been something of a mystery in the post-World War II era.  Indeed, the Pentagon’s antiquated bookkeeping system –- some believe by design — is not compatible with modern accounting practices and computer programs.

When Army financial experts mustered the courage to submit their books for review last year, the Inspector General discovered  $2.8 trillion of accounting errors and numerous missing receipts and invoices that were needed to back up their figures.

The Defense Department’s financial management operation was first added to the GAO’s “High-Risk List” of troubled government organizations and program in 1995. The many long-standing problems have continued to adversely affect the Pentagon’s ability to manage the department and “make sound decisions on missions and operations.”

During his interview, Dodaro conceded that the Pentagon had made some modest progress recently, but questioned whether they could overcome numerous obstacles to getting a handle on their finances and calculating improper payments.

“Now the [GAO] auditors who have been in there have been performing an important service,” Dodaro said. “They’ve made over 700 recommendations so far, so the department is moving. They’re committed to trying to get to an auditable status. They’re expanding the scope of the audits at the [military] services. So, I’m encouraged that they’re moving in the right direction. But it’s going to take a while for them to get there because of their long-standing and fundamental weaknesses.”

Pressed to speculate on the magnitude of improper payments that may eventually turn up in a Pentagon audit, Dodaro replied, “It’s hard to tell” what will eventually be uncovered.  “You don’t know, and that’s a problem, but you should know,” he said.

“I’m not in the business of guessing,” he added. “I’m in the business of auditing.”

Does Assange have a get-out-of-jail card over the ‘Russia-gate’ scandal?

May 20, 2017

by Finian Cunningham


The surprise dropping of an alleged rape case by Swedish prosecutors against whistleblower/publisher Julian Assange paves the way, possibly, to his eventual freedom. It raises an intriguing question: did Assange play an ace card in a backchannel deal?

It seems highly significant that the apparent loosening of the legal vendetta against Assange comes at the same time that the “Russia-gate” scandal embroiling the US president is reaching a critical state.

Powerful political opponents of US President Donald Trump are intensifying their attempts to impeach him over allegations that he in some way colluded with Russia to win the US election last November.

Assange’s possible ‘ace card’ is that he threatened to release so-far undisclosed information that would expose the allegations of Russian collusion as bogus.

The appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to investigate alleged Russian interference – which is reported to have been elevated now to a criminal probe – can be read as a sign that ‘deep state’ opponents to Trump are earnestly raising the stakes against the president.

Trump has repeatedly denied there was any collusion. He dismisses the claims as a “giant hoax.” Separately, the Russian government has also rejected the speculation, pointing out that no verifiable evidence has ever been presented to substantiate the claims.

The theory of a Trump-Russia plot rests entirely on suspicions that Russian state computer hackers broke into the email system of Democrat presidential rival Hillary Clinton. During the election campaign last year, the damaging email information on Clinton’s links to Wall Street and other shenanigans were allegedly passed by Russian cyber agents to WikiLeaks, which in turn published it. Somehow, the Trump campaign team were allegedly complicit, and the whole imbroglio served to undermine Clinton’s support among voters.

To say that Assange is a wanted man by the US authorities and especially deep state forces is a colossal understatement. What then could explain the sudden move to drop the legal battle to extradite him?

The seven-year case against Assange was unexpectedly cancelled last week by the Swedish authorities. The bombshell news took everyone by surprise.

Australian journalist and editor of whistleblower site WikiLeaks has spent nearly five years confined to the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, where he sought political asylum from extradition to Sweden. Assange feared that his prosecution in Sweden was a pretext by American authorities in order to obtain his further extradition to the US where he would face grave charges of espionage and possibly a life sentence in prison, if not the death penalty.

Assange’s possible ‘ace card’ is that he threatened to release so-far undisclosed information that would expose the allegations of Russian collusion as bogus.

The appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to investigate alleged Russian interference – which is reported to have been elevated now to a criminal probe – can be read as a sign that ‘deep state’ opponents to Trump are earnestly raising the stakes against the president.

Trump has repeatedly denied there was any collusion. He dismisses the claims as a “giant hoax.” Separately, the Russian government has also rejected the speculation, pointing out that no verifiable evidence has ever been presented to substantiate the claims.

The theory of a Trump-Russia plot rests entirely on suspicions that Russian state computer hackers broke into the email system of Democrat presidential rival Hillary Clinton. During the election campaign last year, the damaging email information on Clinton’s links to Wall Street and other shenanigans were allegedly passed by Russian cyber agents to WikiLeaks, which in turn published it. Somehow, the Trump campaign team were allegedly complicit, and the whole imbroglio served to undermine Clinton’s support among voters.

To say that Assange is a wanted man by the US authorities and especially deep state forces is a colossal understatement. What then could explain the sudden move to drop the legal battle to extradite him?

The seven-year case against Assange was unexpectedly cancelled last week by the Swedish authorities. The bombshell news took everyone by surprise.

Australian journalist and editor of whistleblower site WikiLeaks has spent nearly five years confined to the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, where he sought political asylum from extradition to Sweden. Assange feared that his prosecution in Sweden was a pretext by American authorities in order to obtain his further extradition to the US where he would face grave charges of espionage and possibly a life sentence in prison, if not the death penalty.

Notably, too, Assange has consistently denied that his information damaging Clinton’s campaign was supplied by Russia.

Revealing sources would be a gross violation of journalistic ethics, especially for an organization like WikiLeaks, which relies on the courage of whistleblowers to take great personal risks in coming forward with highly sensitive information. But in the case of Seth Rich, a dead source, the normal ethical rules of not identifying sources could be considered null and void.

If the young staffer at the DNC was the source of the ‘Clinton emails’ to WikiLeaks, it would have staggering consequences. Ultimately, it would show that the whole premise of the Russia-gate scandal embroiling Trump is baseless. The alleged Trump-Russian collusion narrative is premised on the claims that Russian cyber agents hacked into the Democratic Party database, purloined damaging information on Clinton, and then forwarded all that to WikiLeaks.

Alternatively, if the information was not hacked, but rather leaked by a disaffected DNC staffer like Seth Rich – as many observers believe – then that chain of communication would in one fell swoop demolish the Russia-gate scandal. It’s not a case of hacking. It’s a case of internal leaking.

At a critical time in the Russia-gate scandal – when the stakes have been raised to almost impeachment level – the political opponents gunning for Trump have a lot to lose. The criminal consequences are huge for those intelligence agencies, political operatives, and media assets who are mounting the conspiracy to oust Trump from office.

It seems a pertinent question: did Julian Assange threaten to use an ace card to extricate himself from the punishing vendetta orchestrated by the American, British, and Swedish deep state authorities?

If Assange could demonstrate that the Russia-gate collusion scandal is nothing but a fabrication to unlawfully impeach the US president – by showing the real source of his information – then that would give him immense leverage to thwart the legal vendetta against him.

It is by no means clear if the unprecedented move by the Swedish prosecutor to call off the case will actually result in Assange’s imminent freedom from his sanctuary in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London.

Assange and his supporters cautiously welcomed the “victory and vindication” on receiving the news on Friday. There remain concerns that the British authorities may still arrest Assange on behalf of their American partners if Assange attempts to walk free. The British government and London Metropolitan police have so far equivocated on their next move.

But if Assange does indeed have an ace card to play in the whole Trump-Russia affair then he may well have enough leverage to gain his freedom. We shall see.

The Special Counsel Comes to Town: It’s the Moscow Trials, Revisited

The witch-hunt begins

May 19, 2017

by Justin Raimondo,


Donald Trump ran on a platform of improving relations with Russia: his victory was a mandate for that policy. Yet the real power in this country doesn’t reside within the ballot box, and that reality was brought home when the Justice Department appointed a “special counsel” to investigate “any links and/or coordination with the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”

After months of leaks coming from the intelligence agencies, who bitterly oppose the new policy, and a barrage of innuendo, smears, and character assassination in the media, the will of the people has been abrogated: the Deep State has the last word. The denizens of Langley, and the career spooks within our seventeen intelligence agencies, have exercised their veto power – a power that is not written into the Constitution, but is nevertheless very real.

Their goal is to not only make détente with Russia impossible – and Trump’s goal of “getting along with Russia” will surely not be implemented now that the regime of the special counsel has trumped him – but also to overthrow a democratically elected chief executive, and perhaps prosecute him for “high crimes and misdemeanors” in the process.

No matter what you think of Trump, this is an ominous development for all those who care about the future of our republic. Because the warning to our politicians could not be clearer: So you want to effect a fundamental change in US foreign policy? You dare to question the permanence of NATO? Let this be a lesson to you.

This goes way beyond the Trump administration: the potential targets of the investigation are potentially unlimited. Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein’s letter to the Special Counsel – Bush era  FBI Director Robert Mueller – also states that the counsel’s purview includes “any matters that arose directly from the investigation,” as well as “any other matters within the scope of 28 CFR 600.4 (a),” which refers to anyone who might conceivably be involved in obstructing the Special Counsel’s probe.

In short, Mueller has virtually unlimited power to expand his investigation, and, given the history of Special Counsels, you can be sure that this one will wander far afield and become a general probe into “Russian influence” on the election – a matter already taken up by at least two congressional committees.

Any politician, especially one who supported Trump, who advocates peaceful and productive relations with Russia is a likely target. The War Party has already got Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) in its sights for his fearless questioning of the anti-Russian propaganda campaign.

Furthermore, any media outlets that either supported Trump, had a good word to say about Trump, and/or dissented from the Russophobic hysteria that has gripped the “mainstream” media are liable to be scrutinized. Journalists with “Russian ties” – no matter how tenuous – will be caught up in the witch-hunt. The Washington Post gave front page prominence to a group of anonymous “researchers” that calls itself “PropOrNot,” which has compiled a lengthy list of “pro-Russian” media outlets and web sites – including the Drudge Report, and Antiwar.com.

The dynamics of the witch-hunt will play out in the manner in which it has operated up until this point, only more so: the “mainstream” media will act as the research department of DOJ investigators, “uncovering” the “pro-Russian” network in the US, inviting Mueller to move in for the kill. Politicians, journalists, academics, and even ordinary folks will be targeted by the government in the hunt for “Putin’s puppets.”

We haven’t seen this kind of thing since the 1950s. Indeed, the history of these political lynchings goes all the way back to the Moscow Trials conducted by Stalin and his henchmen, who consolidated their power by prosecuting “Trotskyite wreckers” and other “enemies of the people” – to the applause of Western “liberals.”

What we are witnessing is a “regime-change” operation, such as our intelligence agencies have routinely carried out abroad, right here in the United States. Yet it is more – and worse – than that.

This pernicious campaign is an attempt to criminalize dissent from the foreign policy “consensus.” It is an effort by powerful groups within the national security bureaucracy, the media, and the military-industrial complex to stamp out any opposition to their program of perpetual war. It is, in effect, political terrorism – that is, an attempt to achieve political-ideological goals by the threat of force, i.e. the threat of State coercion. The police state methods utilized by law enforcement agencies in this country since 9/11 – universal surveillance, and the whole menu of cyber-spying techniques exposed by Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks – will be deployed. And it won’t just be our own American spooks doing the eavesdropping.

The involvement of the British and other European intelligence agencies in this regime-change operation on American soil is well-known: it was a “former” MI6 agent, one Christopher Steele, who authored and circulated the infamous “dirty dossier” on Trump. The Ukrainians, in particular, are in the forefront of this campaign: their targeting of Paul Manafort is out in the open. And a recent article in the Washington Post which relates a conversation between GOP House majority leader Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan, and others, has McCarthy saying he thinks both Trump and Rep. Rohrabacher are “paid by Putin.” The exchange took place on Capitol Hill, after a meeting with the Ukrainian envoy – and the Post, in a story datelined Kiev, reports that it was “recorded.” So who did the recording? My bet is on the Ukrainians.

Oh, but that kind of “foreign influence” on our politics is just fine and dandy. You won’t ever see a Special Counsel appointed to investigate it.

The reign of terror is about to begin: anyone who opposes our interventionist foreign policy is liable to be labeled a “Kremlin tool” – and could face legal sanctions. Because you can be sure that ancillary efforts, apart from the office of the Special Counsel, are already in motion to make sure dissent is muzzled. They intend to move against the Internet, in the name of guarding against “Russian influence”: the phony campaign against “fake news” is already well-advanced, along with legislative efforts to fund a “push back” campaign against “Russia propaganda.”  And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some attempt is made to abridge the right to publish material deemed “pro-Russian,” either with direct legal sanctions or indirect methods, such as stopping or inhibiting the funding of “suspicious” web sites.

Killing C.I.A. Informants, China Crippled U.S. Spying Operations

May 20, 2017

by Mark Mazetti, Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt, and Matt Apuzzo.

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Chinese government systematically dismantled C.I.A. spying operations in the country starting in 2010, killing or imprisoning more than a dozen sources over two years and crippling intelligence gathering there for years afterward.

Current and former American officials described the intelligence breach as one of the worst in decades. It set off a scramble in Washington’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies to contain the fallout, but investigators were bitterly divided over the cause. Some were convinced that a mole within the C.I.A. had betrayed the United States. Others believed that the Chinese had hacked the covert system the C.I.A. used to communicate with its foreign sources. Years later, that debate remains unresolved.

But there was no disagreement about the damage. From the final weeks of 2010 through the end of 2012, according to former American officials, the Chinese killed at least a dozen of the C.I.A.’s sources. According to three of the officials, one was shot in front of his colleagues in the courtyard of a government building — a message to others who might have been working for the C.I.A.

Still others were put in jail. All told, the Chinese killed or imprisoned 18 to 20 of the C.I.A.’s sources in China, according to two former senior American officials, effectively unraveling a network that had taken years to build.

Assessing the fallout from an exposed spy operation can be difficult, but the episode was considered particularly damaging. The number of American assets lost in China, officials said, rivaled those lost in the Soviet Union and Russia during the betrayals of both Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, formerly of the C.I.A. and the F.B.I., who divulged intelligence operations to Moscow for years.

The previously unreported episode shows how successful the Chinese were in disrupting American spying efforts and stealing secrets years before a well-publicized breach in 2015 gave Beijing access to thousands of government personnel records, including intelligence contractors. The C.I.A. considers spying in China one of its top priorities, but the country’s extensive security apparatus makes it exceptionally hard for Western spy services to develop sources there.

At a time when the C.I.A. is trying to figure out how some of its most sensitive documents were leaked onto the internet two months ago by WikiLeaks, and the F.B.I. investigates possible ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia, the unsettled nature of the China investigation demonstrates the difficulty of conducting counterespionage investigations into sophisticated spy services like those in Russia and China.

The C.I.A. and the F.B.I. both declined to comment.

Details about the investigation have been tightly held. Ten current and former American officials described the investigation on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing the information.

The first signs of trouble emerged in 2010. At the time, the quality of the C.I.A.’s information about the inner workings of the Chinese government was the best it had been for years, the result of recruiting sources deep inside the bureaucracy in Beijing, four former officials said. Some were Chinese nationals who the C.I.A. believed had become disillusioned with the Chinese government’s corruption.

But by the end of the year, the flow of information began to dry up. By early 2011, senior agency officers realized they had a problem: Assets in China, one of their most precious resources, were disappearing.

The F.B.I. and the C.I.A. opened a joint investigation run by top counterintelligence officials at both agencies. Working out of a secret office in Northern Virginia, they began analyzing every operation being run in Beijing. One former senior American official said the investigation had been code-named Honey Badger.

As more and more sources vanished, the operation took on increased urgency. Nearly every employee at the American Embassy was scrutinized, no matter how high ranking. Some investigators believed the Chinese had cracked the encrypted method that the C.I.A. used to communicate with its assets. Others suspected a traitor in the C.I.A., a theory that agency officials were at first reluctant to embrace — and that some in both agencies still do not believe.

Their debates were punctuated with macabre phone calls — “We lost another one” — and urgent questions from the Obama administration wondering why intelligence about the Chinese had slowed.

The mole hunt eventually zeroed in on a former agency operative who had worked in the C.I.A.’s division overseeing China, believing he was most likely responsible for the crippling disclosures. But efforts to gather enough evidence to arrest him failed, and he is now living in another Asian country, current and former officials said.

There was good reason to suspect an insider, some former officials say. Around that time, Chinese spies compromised National Security Agency surveillance in Taiwan — an island Beijing claims is part of China — by infiltrating Taiwanese intelligence, an American partner, according to two former officials. And the C.I.A. had discovered Chinese operatives in the agency’s hiring pipeline, according to officials and court documents.

But the C.I.A.’s top spy hunter, Mark Kelton, resisted the mole theory, at least initially, former officials say. Mr. Kelton had been close friends with Brian J. Kelley, a C.I.A. officer who in the 1990s was wrongly suspected by the F.B.I. of being a Russian spy. The real traitor, it turned out, was Mr. Hanssen. Mr. Kelton often mentioned Mr. Kelley’s mistreatment in meetings during the China episode, former colleagues say, and said he would not accuse someone without ironclad evidence.

Those who rejected the mole theory attributed the losses to sloppy American tradecraft at a time when the Chinese were becoming better at monitoring American espionage activities in the country. Some F.B.I. agents became convinced that C.I.A. handlers in Beijing too often traveled the same routes to the same meeting points, which would have helped China’s vast surveillance network identify the spies in its midst.

Some officers met their sources at a restaurant where Chinese agents had planted listening devices, former officials said, and even the waiters worked for Chinese intelligence.

This carelessness, coupled with the possibility that the Chinese had hacked the covert communications channel, would explain many, if not all, of the disappearances and deaths, some former officials said. Some in the agency, particularly those who had helped build the spy network, resisted this theory and believed they had been caught in the middle of a turf war within the C.I.A.

Still, the Chinese picked off more and more of the agency’s spies, continuing through 2011 and into 2012. As investigators narrowed the list of suspects with access to the information, they started focusing on a Chinese-American who had left the C.I.A. shortly before the intelligence losses began. Some investigators believed he had become disgruntled and had begun spying for China. One official said the man had access to the identities of C.I.A. informants and fit all the indicators on a matrix used to identify espionage threats.

After leaving the C.I.A., the man decided to remain in Asia with his family and pursue a business opportunity, which some officials suspect that Chinese intelligence agents had arranged.

Officials said the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. lured the man back to the United States around 2012 with a ruse about a possible contract with the agency, an arrangement common among former officers. Agents questioned the man, asking why he had decided to stay in Asia, concerned that he possessed a number of secrets that would be valuable to the Chinese. It’s not clear whether agents confronted the man about whether he had spied for China.

The man defended his reasons for living in Asia and did not admit any wrongdoing, an official said. He then returned to Asia.

By 2013, the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. concluded that China’s success in identifying C.I.A. agents had been blunted — it is not clear how — but the damage had been done.

The C.I.A. has tried to rebuild its network of spies in China, officials said, an expensive and time-consuming effort led at one time by the former chief of the East Asia Division. A former intelligence official said the former chief was particularly bitter because he had worked with the suspected mole and recruited some of the spies in China who were ultimately executed.

China has been particularly aggressive in its espionage in recent years, beyond the breach of the Office of Personnel Management records in 2015, American officials said. Last year, an F.B.I. employee pleaded guilty to acting as a Chinese agent for years, passing sensitive technology information to Beijing in exchange for cash, lavish hotel rooms during foreign travel and prostitutes.

In March, prosecutors announced the arrest of a longtime State Department employee, Candace Marie Claiborne, accused of lying to investigators about her contacts with Chinese officials. According to the criminal complaint against Ms. Claiborne, who pleaded not guilty, Chinese agents wired cash into her bank account and showered her with gifts that included an iPhone, a laptop and tuition at a Chinese fashion school. In addition, according to the complaint, she received a fully furnished apartment and a stipend.


Trump targets ‘crisis of Islamist extremism’ in Saudi trip

May 21, 2017

by Steve Holland and Jeff Mason


RIYADH-U.S. President Donald Trump will call on Arab leaders to confront “Islamist extremism” during a speech on Sunday in which he will portray fighting terrorism as a battle between good and evil rather than a clash of civilizations.

“This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it,” Trump will say, according to excerpts of the speech released by the White House.

“That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires. And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians,” he will say.

The speech is part of a re-set effort with the Muslim world after Trump frequently attacked Muslims on the campaign trail last year and tried to ban many from entering the United States.

Struggling to contain a brewing political scandal at home, Trump kicked off his first foreign trip in Saudi Arabia, where he will deliver the speech at an Arab Islamic American Summit (4:20 p.m. local/9:20 a.m. EDT.)

“Terrorism has spread across the world. But the path to peace begins right here, on this ancient soil, in this sacred land,” he will say. “The nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them.”

Trump received a warm welcome from Arab leaders, who set aside his campaign rhetoric about Muslims and focused on his desire to crack down on Iran’s influence in the region, a commitment they found wanting in former President Barack Obama.

Trump’s signature phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” was not included in the speech excerpts.

The United States and Gulf Arab countries agreed on Sunday to coordinate their efforts against the financing of terrorist groups, a key White House objective.

The president also convened the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council as part of his effort to counter Iran with a NATO-like Arab force.

Trump and the leaders will establish a center aimed at cracking down on the ability of Islamic militants to spread their message.


Trump’s welcome in the region was put on display during a series of individual meetings with Arab leaders.

He praised Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, telling him, “You have done a tremendous job under trying circumstances.” Trump promised to schedule a trip to Egypt soon, and he singled out the Egyptian’s choice of footwear, a pair of shiny black shoes. “Love your shoes. Boy, those shoes,” he said.

Reinforcing his theme of U.S. economic deals, Trump told Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani they would discuss “lots of beautiful military equipment because nobody makes it like the United States.”

To Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, Trump declared that the two nations had a lot in common and “there won’t be strain with this administration.” The king lauded the relationship and said it had led to “great stability in the region and prosperity.”

And in a meeting with the emir of Kuwait, Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, Trump noted Kuwait bought large amounts of U.S. military equipment. The Kuwaiti leader referred to Trump as “my brother.”

Trump’s Riyadh visit kicks off his first presidential trip abroad, with Saudi Arabia the first stop on a nine-day journey through the Middle East and Europe.

The speech comes as Trump tries to escape the fallout from his May 9 firing of former FBI Director James Comey amid accusations he was trying to stop a federal investigation into his campaign’s ties with Russia last year.

The New York Times reported Trump called Comey a “nut job” in a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week. The Washington Post said the probe had reached into the White House to include a Trump adviser, who was not named.

Trump showed little sign of the pressure during a day of diplomacy on Saturday during which he was warmly welcomed by Saudi King Salman.

At a royal banquet on Saturday night, Trump walked into a colorful spectacle: Men in ceremonial dress and carrying swords chanted in unison to beating drums in a courtyard. Trump, clearly enjoying himself, smiled and swayed, even seeming to dance a little at the center of the group.

A strong wind later blew sand through the area.

(Editing by Ralph Boulton)

 Israeli minister expresses concern over U.S.-Saudi arms deal

May 21, 2017


Israel gave a muted response on Sunday to a major arms deal between the United States and Saudi Arabia announced a day earlier during the visit to the region by U.S. President Donald Trump.

“This is a matter that really should trouble us,” said Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz prior to the weekly cabinet meeting, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made no mention of the deal in his customary public remarks.

Netanyahu has voiced his wish to improve ties with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states as part of an initiative that would draw the Palestinians into an eventual peace deal and as a broad front against Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Israel has always been wary of maintaining its military edge and Steinitz said he hoped to hear details of the deal. Trump and his entourage touch down in Israel on Monday.

“We have also to make sure that those hundreds of billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia will not, by any means, erode Israel’s qualitative edge, because Saudi Arabia is still a hostile country without any diplomatic relations and nobody knows what the future will be,” he said.

In the 1980s, Israel expressed its concern at a U.S. sale to Saudi Arabia of then-advanced F-15 fighter jets that were stationed at a Red Sea airfield but the desert kingdom has never threatened to use them against Israel.

(Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Mark Potter)

 If the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Collapsed…

May 9, 2017

by Eric Betz


As the atmosphere warms, heat is transferred to the oceans, which causes water expansion and rising sea levels. Today, Earth’s oceans are warmer than they have been in 100,000 years, according to research published in Science in January.

Scientists discovered this by using sediment cores from around the world to reconstruct sea surface temperatures from the last interglacial period, which started roughly 129,000 years ago. At that time, temperatures were similar to those from before the Industrial Revolution. The study also showed that 4,000 years later — so, 125,000 years ago — sea surface temperatures had warmed up to nearly match today’s readings. That means that, during the interglacial period, it took the planet millennia for a temperature increase that humans managed in just centuries. Alarmingly, sea levels back then were at least 20 feet higher than today’s.

The study is just one of a growing number that look at how the Antarctic Ice Sheet behaved in the past and suggest sea level rise could be higher — and come sooner — than scientists expected even a few years ago. Dozens of feet of sea level rise could take millennia, but the latest estimates suggest as much as 8 feet by the end of the century on the extreme end of projections. That timeline is still one of the biggest unknowns.

Antarctica is a desolate, far-away place, but what happens there could reshape life along the coasts.

If Earth is now locked into many feet of ocean rise, it would be enough to flood major metro areas. And the risk to some low-lying areas will rise in mere decades, not centuries. For example, New York City is expected to see regional sea levels rise as much as 30 percent more than the global average. Mud cores pulled from marshes in the city show that the sea level is already rising faster there than at any time in the past 1,500 years, according to research published in the Holocene Journal in January. Using their sample site in the Bronx, the scientists found local ocean levels have risen by more than a foot since 1850.

In New York City, studies estimate that adding several more feet of sea level rise would cause some $26 billion in damage and displace nearly 100,000 people.

Ice sheets contain enormous quantities of frozen water. When, not if, the Greenland Ice Sheet melts, scientists estimate that sea level will rise about 6 meters (20 feet). When, not if, the Antarctic Ice Sheet melts, sea level will rise by about 60 meters (200 feet).


U.S. Department of Defense report on the Arctic


U.S. national security interests in the Arctic are delineated in National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 66/Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 25, Arctic Region Policy. This policy states that national security interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of the seas. Preserving freedom of the seas, which includes all of the rights, freedoms, and uses of the seas and adjacent airspace, including freedom of navigation and overflight, in the Arctic supports the nation’s ability to exercise these rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea and airspace throughout the world, including through strategic straits.

The 2013 National Strategy on the Arctic Region frames the whole-of-government approach that provides the overarching context for the Department’s efforts. It lays out three main lines of effort in the Arctic: advance U.S. security interests; pursue responsible Arctic region stewardship; and strengthen international cooperation. The goal of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region is “an Arctic region that is stable and free of conflict, where nations act responsibly in a spirit of trust and cooperation, and where economic and energy resources are developed in a sustainable manner that also respects the fragile environment and the interests and cultures of indigenous peoples.”

The DoD Arctic Strategy outlines how the Department will support the whole-of-government effort to promote security, stewardship, and international cooperation in the Arctic. The Department’s strategic approach to the Arctic reflects the relatively low level of military threat in a region bounded by nation States that have not only publicly committed to working within a common framework of international law and diplomatic engagement,6 but have also demonstrated the ability and commitment to do so. In consideration of enduring national interests in the Arctic and existing strategic guidance, the Department’s end-state for its strategic approach to the Arctic is: a secure and stable region where U.S. national interests are safeguarded, the U.S. homeland is protected, and nations work cooperatively to address challenges.

The January 2009 National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD)-66, dual-titled as Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-25, or NSPD-66/HSPD-25, established the policy of the United States with respect to the Arctic and outlined national security and homeland security interests in the region. Homeland security interests include preventing terrorist attacks and mitigating those criminal or hostile acts that could increase the United States’ vulnerability to terrorism in the Arctic. The Department has a role to play in responding not only to traditional (e.g., military) threats, but also to a range of other potential national security challenges (e.g., smuggling, criminal trafficking, and terrorism as the lead agency or in support of other government agencies6In the Ilulissat Declaration (May 28, 2008), all five Arctic Ocean coastal States (United States, Russian Federation, Canada, Norway, and Denmark on behalf of Greenland) committed themselves to the orderly settlement of overlapping territorial claims through the established framework of the international law as reflected in the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC). The Declaration affirmedthat the legal framework provided by the LOSC is sufficient for the management of the Arctic Ocean and that there is no need to develop a new comprehensive international legal regime to govern this Ocean.

In the Ilulissat Declaration (May 28, 2008), all five Arctic Ocean coastal States (United States, Russian Federation, Canada, Norway,and Denmark on behalf of Greenland) committed themselves to the orderly settlement of overlapping territorial claims through theestablished framework of the international law as reflected in the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC). The Declaration affirmedthat the legal framework provided by the LOSC is sufficient for the management of the Arctic Ocean and that there is no need todevelop a new comprehensive international legal regime to govern this Ocean.


The Department’s two supporting objectives describe what is to be accomplished to achieve its desired end-state. These objectives are bounded by policy guidance, the changing nature of the strategic and physical environment, and the capabilities and limitations of the available instruments of national power (diplomatic, informational, military, and economic). Actions taken to achieve these objectives will be informed by the Department’s global priorities and fiscal constraints. In order to achieve its strategic endstate, the Department’s supporting objectives are:

Ensure security, support safety, and promote defense cooperation .

– Relationships with allies and partners are important enablers of cooperation in meeting security and defense commitments. These relationships also play an important role in conflict prevention, and, if prevention and deterrence fail, in coordinating an international response to security and defense challenges. Although the Department of State is the lead for regional diplomacy, DoD has a supporting role enhancing the region’s capability and capacity for multilateral security collaboration, and responding to requests for assistance from interagency and international partners both within and outside the Arctic. This collaborative approach helps prevent conflict and provides the stability needed to facilitate the sustainable economic development envisioned in the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. The Department of Defense will seek out areas of mutual interest to build strategic relationships and encourage operational-level partnerships that promote innovative, affordable security solutions and enhance burdensharing in the Arctic. Science and technology (S&T) can provide non-contentious opportunities for cooperation, and DoD will coordinate research initiatives with the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC).

The Department has an important role supporting other Federal departments and agencies in safety-related missions in Alaska and in responding to requests from civil authorities to support them with disaster relief or humanitarian assistance at home or abroad. Although the Department has seldom been tasked to execute these missions in the Arctic, it may be asked to do more in the coming decades.

  • Prepare for a wide range of challenges and contingencies—operating in conjunction with other States when possible and independently if necessary—in order to maintain stability in the region.

– Future challenges in the Arctic may span the full range of national security interests.

These challenges and contingencies may take many forms, ranging from the need to support other Federal departments and agencies—or another nation—in responding to a natural or man-made disaster to responding to security concerns that may emerge in the future.

Per the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region, U.S. security in the Arctic encompasses a broad spectrum of activities, including national defense.


The Department will pursue comprehensive engagement with allies and partners to protect the homeland and support civil authorities in preparing for increased human activity in the Arctic. Strategic partnerships are the center of gravity in ensuring a peaceful opening of the Arctic and achieving the Department’s desired end-state. Where possible, DoD will seek innovative, low-cost, smallfootprint approaches to achieve these objectives (e.g., by participating in multilateral exercises like the Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) hosted by Greenland, COLDRESPONSE hosted by Norway, and Canada’s Operation NANOOK, or through Defense Environmental International Cooperation Program-supported engagements on Arctic issues). The Department will also evolve its infrastructure and capabilities in step with the changing physical environment in order to ensure security, support safety, promote defense cooperation, and prepare to respond to a wide range of challenges and contingencies in the Arctic in the coming decades. The Department will accomplish its objectives through the following ways:


Exercise sovereignty and protect the homeland;

Engage public and private sector partners to improve domain awareness in the Arctic;

Preserve freedom of the seas in the Arctic;

Evolve Arctic infrastructure and capabilities consistent with changing conditions;

Support existing agreements with allies and partners while pursuing new ones to build confidence with key regional partners;

Provide support to civil authorities, as directed;

Partner with other departments and agencies and nations to support human and

environmental safety; and

Support the development of the Arctic Council and otherinternational institutions that promote regional cooperation and the rule of law.

The Department will apply the four guiding principles from the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region as it pursues these eight ways. This means DoD will work with allies, partners, and other interested parties to safeguard peace and stability. It will make decisions using the best available scientific information, and will pursue innovative arrangements as it develops the capability and capacity needed in the Arctic over time. It will also follow established Federal tribal consultation policy. These four principles will underpin all of the Department’s activities as it implements this strategy through the means described in this section.

The Arctic Council’s charter states, “The Arctic Council should not deal with matters related to military security.” It could be argued that search and rescue is a (human) security interest, and oil spill response is an (environmental) security interest; thus, the Council has a demonstrated ability to address a range of “soft security” issues.

Protect the Homeland and Exercise Sovereignty

From the U.S. perspective, greater access afforded by the decreasing seasonal ice increases the Arctic’s viability as an avenue of approach to North America for those with hostile intent toward the U.S. homeland, and the Department will remain prepared to detect, deter, prevent, and defeat  threats to the homeland. Additionally, DoD will continue to support the exercise of U.S. sovereignty. In the near-term, this will require some ability to operate in the Arctic, which the Department will maintain and enhance by continuing to conduct exercises and training in the region. In the mid- to far-term, this may require developing further capabilities and capacity to protect U.S. air, land, and maritime borders in the Arctic in accordance with the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region. As directed by the 2011 Unified Command Plan, Commander, U.S. Northern Command (CDRUSNORTHCOM) is responsible for advocating for Arctic capabilities. In execution of this responsibility, CDRUSNORTHCOM will collaborate with relevant Combatant Commands, the Joint Staff, the Military Departments and ServicesServices, and the Defense agencies to identify and prioritize emerging Arctic capability gaps and requirements. These efforts will be informed by the most authoritative scientific information on future Arctic conditions. For purposes of mission and infrastructure vulnerability assessments and adaptation to climate change, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (OUSD(AT&L)) will identify projections of future conditions to be used. The Department of Defense will collaborate with theDepartment of Homeland Security (DHS) to ensure efficient use of resources to avoid duplication of effort in research, development, experimentation, testing, and acquisition. Forums such as the DoD-DHS Capabilities Development Working Group are among the means to facilitate this cooperation.

Engage public and private sector partners to improve all domain awareness in the


Although NSPD-66/HSPD-25 focuses on maritime domain awareness, the Department has responsibilities for awareness across all domains: air, land, maritime, space, and cyberspace. Adequate domain awareness is an essential component of protecting maritime commerce, critical infrastructure, and key resources. In the near-term, the Department will work through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to maintain air tracking capabilities in the Arctic. As the maritime domain becomes increasingly accessible, the Department will seek to improve its maritime detection and tracking in coordination with DHS and other departments and agencies as well as through public/private partnerships. The Department of the Navy, in its role as DoD Executive Agent for Maritime Domain Awareness, will lead DoD coordination on maritime detection and tracking. Where possible, DoD will also collaborate with international partners to employ, acquire, share, or develop the means required to improve sensing, data collection and fusion, analysis, and information-sharing to enhance domain awareness appropriately in the Arctic. Monitoring regional activity and analyzing emerging trends are key to informing future investments in Arctic capabilities and ensuring they keep pace with increasing human activity in the region over time.

Many of DoD’s ways align with what the National Strategy for the Arctic Region terms supporting objectives to its three lines of effort, but DoD’s strategy follows the classical “ways-ends-means” construction.

This strategy identifies three timeframes to be used for implementation planning: the near-term (present day-2020); mid-term (2020-2030); and far-term (beyond 2030). These timeframes are approximate due to uncertainty in climate change projections.

In the near- to mid-term, the primary means of improving domain awareness will be continued use of innovative, low-cost solutions for polar Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) needs as well as enhanced international collaboration. DoD will take steps to work with other Federal departments and agencies to improve nautical charts, enhance relevant atmospheric and oceanic models, improve accuracy of estimates of ice extent and thickness, and detect and monitor climate change indicators. In particular, the Department of the Navy will work in partnership with other Federal departments and agencies (e.g., DHS, the Department of Commerce) and international partners to improve hydrographic charting and oceanographic surveys in the Arctic.

The Department will continue to collaborate with other Federal departments and agencies and the State of Alaska to monitor and assess changes in the physical environment to inform the development of Arctic requirements and future capabilities. To that end, the Department will leverage work done by the scientific and academic communities and seek opportunities to contribute to the observation and modeling of the atmosphere, ocean, and sea ice conditions, including acoustics conditions, to enhance military environmental forecasting capabilities. These collaborations will help inform the development and design of future ice-strengthened ship designs, when required.

Preserve freedom of the seas in the Arctic.

The United States has a national interest in preserving all of the rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea and airspace recognized under international law. The Department will preserve the global mobility of United States military and civilian vessels and aircraft throughout the Arctic, including through the exercise of the Freedom of Navigation program to challenge excessive maritime claims asserted by other Arctic States when necessary. The Department will continue to support U.S. accession to the United Nations Convention on the Lawof the Sea (hereafter referred to as the Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC)) because it codifies the rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea and airspace the Department seeks to preserve; provides a means for the peaceful resolution of disputes; and ensures international recognition of resources rights on the extended continental shelf.

Evolve Arctic infrastructure and capabilities consistent with changing conditions.

The Department will periodically re-evaluate requirements necessary to meet

national security objectives as conditions change and the Combatant Commandersidentify operational requirements for the Arctic in updates to their regional plans.Once operational requirements are defined, solutions for associated supporting infrastructure requirements should seek to leverage existing U.S. Government, commercial, and international facilities to the maximum extent possible in order to mitigate the high cost and extended timelines associated with the development of Arctic infrastructure. If no existing infrastructure is capable of sufficiently supporting the requirement, modifications to existing bases, such as the addition of a new hangar, will be made as part of the military construction or facilities sustainment, restoration, and modernization processes.

Uphold existing agreements with allies and partners while building confidence with key regional partners.

Security cooperation activities and other military-to-military forms of engagement establish, shape, and maintain international relations and the partnerships necessary to meet security challenges and reduce the potential for friction. The 2012 and 2013 Northern Chiefs of Defense (CHoDs) meetings and the Arctic Security Forces Roundtable workshops and meetings are examples of means for promoting information-sharing and partnership-building necessary to develop cooperative approaches to common challenges. Therefore, in cooperation with the Department of State, DHS (in particular, the U.S. Coast Guard), and other relevant agencies, the Department will continue to build cooperative strategic partnerships that promote innovative, affordable security solutions and burden-sharing in the Arctic. It will also seek to increase bilateral exchanges, including in science and technology, and take advantage of multilateral training opportunities with Arctic partners to enhance regional expertise and cold-weather operational experience.

Provide Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) in Alaska and provide Foreign Humanitarian Assistance and Foreign Disaster Relief (FHA/FDR) in other non-U.S. territorial areas of the Arctic.

When directed by the appropriate authority, the Department will be prepared to support civil authorities in response to natural or manmade disasters, or to conduct FHA/FDR operations in cooperation with allies and partners. Partner with other agencies and nations to support human and environmental safety.

Some of the near-term safety-related challenges include meeting international search and rescue obligations and responding to incidents such as oil spills in ice-covered waters, as reflected in the recently concluded Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic and Agreement on Cooperation on

Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic. The Department will leverage existing capabilities to respond to requests for support from civil authorities in coordination with other departments and agencies and nations. Where appropriate, the Department will support other departments and agencies in maintaining human health; promoting healthy, sustainable, and resilient ecosystems; and consulting and coordinating with Alaska Natives on policy and activities affecting them. Finally, the Department will continue to integrate environmental considerations into its planning and operations and to contribute to whole-of-government approaches in support of the second line of effort in the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region

Support the development of the Arctic Council and other international institutions to promote regional cooperation and the rule of law.

The Department recognizes the value of the Arctic Council in efforts to understand the changing Arctic environment and developingcooperative approaches to regional challenges, and supports the Department of State in thecontinued development of the Council. Although the Department of State is the lead fordiplomacy, DoD has a role to play in enhancing the region’s multilateral security cooperationenvironment. Accordingly, DoD will work with allies and partners within the framework ofinternational institutions, ranging from the Arctic Council to the International MaritimeOrganization (IMO), to maintain stability and promote cooperation.

As expressed by Commander, U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), Commander, U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), and Commander, USNORTHCOM, in a May 2008 memorandum, the United States needs assured access to support U.S. national interests in the Arctic. Although this imperative could be met by regular U.S. Government ships in open water up to the marginal ice zone, only ice-capable ships provide assured sovereign presence throughout the region and throughout the year. Assured access in areas of pack ice could also be met by other means, including submarines and aircraft.


This strategy furthers defense objectives while positioning the United States to take advantage of opportunities in the Arctic during the coming decades in accordance with the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region. It also addresses some of the risks inherent in the trade-offs and tensions among U.S. interests and objectives, including:

Projections about future access to and activity in the Arctic may be inaccurate.

Significant uncertainty remains about the rate and extent of the effects of climate change, including climate variability, in the Arctic. There is also uncertainty about future economic conditions, and the pace at which human activity will increase in the region. The challenge is to balance the risk of having inadequate capabilities or insufficient capacity when required to operate in the region with the opportunity cost of making premature and/or unnecessary investments. Premature investment may reduce the availability of resources for other pressing priorities, particularly in a time of fiscal austerity.

Fiscal constraints may delay or deny needed investment in Arctic capabilities, and may curtail Arctic trainingand operations.

As the Department downsizes to meet budgetary targets, it will have to prioritize engagements for the resulting smaller force. There is also a risk that desired investments in Arctic capabilities may not compete successfully against other requirements in the Department’s budgetary priorities. Where possible, DoD will mitigate this risk by

developing innovative ways to employ existing capabilities in coordination with other departments and agencies and international partners, and by enhancing scientific, research, and development partnerships. CDRUSNORTHCOM plays a key role in mitigating this risk as the Arctic capability advocate within the Department’s planning and programming activities. Commander, U.S. European Command (CDRUSEUCOM) and Commander, U.S. Pacific Command (CDRUSPACOM) also play a role by fostering collaborative working relationships with regional partners.

Political rhetoric and press reporting about boundary disputes and competition for resources may inflame regional tensions.

Efforts to manage disagreements diplomatically may be hindered if the public narrative becomes one of rivalry and conflict. The Department will mitigate this risk by ensuring its plans, actions, and words are coordinated, and when appropriate, by engaging the press to counter unhelpful narratives with facts. The Under Secretary of Defense for Policy will monitor DoD activities, programs, and posture in the region to ensure the Department is sending a clear message to key audiences regarding the Department’s efforts to promote security, safety, and defense cooperation.

Being too aggressive in taking steps to address anticipated future security risks may create the conditions of mistrust and miscommunication under which such risks could materialize.

There is some risk that the perception that the Arctic is being militarized may lead to an “arms race” mentality that could lead to a breakdown of existing cooperative approaches to shared challenges. The Department will mitigate this risk by focusing on collaborative security approaches as outlined in the 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region, and by supporting other Federal departments and agencies where they have leadership roles. Building trust through transparency about the intent of our military activities and participation in bilateral and multilateral exercises and other engagements that facilitate information-sharing will be a key means of addressing this risk.


The Department will work collaboratively with allies and partners through the ways and means outlined in this strategy to support the development of the Arctic as a secure and stable region where U.S. national interests are safeguarded, the U.S. homeland is protected, and nations work cooperatively to address challenges. Priority will be given to addressing key near-term challenges primarily in key enablers, including: shortfalls in ice and weather reporting and forecasting; limitations in C4ISR due to lack of assets and harsh environmental conditions; and limited domain awareness. The key will be to address needs over time as activity in the Arctic increases, while balancing potential Arctic investments with other national priorities. This approach will help the United States achieve its objectives as outlined in the National Strategy for the Arctic Region while mitigating risks and overcoming challenges presented by the growing geostrategic importance of the Arctic.







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